UK Scholarship Program to Allow More Pinoys
NOW, more Filipinos can have the chance to be admitted in a United Kingdom flagship scholarship program as additional slots will be opened to Filipinos in the Chevening Scholarships program for the academic year 2015 to 2016.
In a statement, the British Embassy in Manila announced that the number of Filipino scholars in the program will double in the following year due to an additional investment of PhP2.4 billion to the program globally.
The amount will be invested over a period of two years to ensure an additional 1,000 scholarships will be available globally, the embassy said.
“We want to receive more and more varied applications from all across the Philippines,” said British Ambassador Asif Ahmad.
“We are encouraging people who can be leaders in a wide range of areas from governance to economics, from peace building to trade, from justice to climate change and energy,” he added.
Applications for the academic year 2014-2015 have already closed, but the program will open once more to potential scholars on August 1 for Academic Year 2015-2016.
Philippine sponsors for the program this year include the Bank of the Philippine Islands, GlaxoSmithKline Philippines Inc., First Pacific Leadership Academy and San Miguel Corporation.
For Academic Year 2013-2014, a total of 11 Filipino scholars were chosen to pursue studies in finance and economics, environment and sustainability, trade, health and law in the UK.
The Chevening Program is a prestigious scholarship program that allows students outside the UK to pursue any one-year masters degree courses at any of the universities in the UK.
A special feature of Chevening in the Philippines this year will be ensuring it contributes to the UK’s support of the Mindanao peace process.
According to the statement, the aim is to identify at least five scholars in the 2015-2016 batch “who can make a positive difference to realizing the vision of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.”
PH, European Bloc to ink partnership
The Philippines and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are scheduled to sign a Joint Declaration on Cooperation (JDC) during the EFTA Ministerial Meeting scheduled in Iceland on 23 June 2014.
“Pursuing a strategic partnership with EFTA is one of the country’s priority trade engagements. Potential exports to EFTA could include products which we are already exporting to the European Union (EU) such as machinery, mineral compounds, medical instruments, and textiles and apparel. “We are also an ideal processing hub for food exporters like Iceland and Norway,” said Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr.
The JDC seeks to expand trade relations through exchange of views and cooperation in the areas of, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, public procurement, competition and trade and sustainable development.
It also aims to promote private sector cooperation and encourage business contacts.
The JDC likewise provides for the establishment of a joint committee allowing the parties to review the areas for cooperation and discuss other issues of mutual interest.
Since 2011, the Philippines and EFTA have been conducting a series of high-level and expert group meetings. Both sides agreed to work towards signing a JDC as an initial step to Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.
EFTA is an inter-governmental organization for the promotion of free trade and economic integration to benefit its four Member states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
In past years, many EFTA-based multinational companies have already set up several joint ventures in the Philippines in electrical equipment, chemicals, industrial machinery, mechanical/engineering industries and drugs/pharmaceuticals sectors.
Swiss companies in the Philippines include Nestle, Holcim, Novartis, and Roche. Switzerland is one of the top investors in the Philippines.
EFTA has free trade agreements covering 35 countries including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Central American States (Costa Rica and Panama), Chile, Colombia, Egypt, members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Hong Kong-China, Israel, Jordan, South Korea, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Peru, Serbia, Singapore, member-states of Southern African Customs Union, Tunisia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Ongoing FTA negotiations include Algeria, India, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia Belarus and Kazakhstan, Thailand and Vietnam.
EFTA has concluded Joint Declarations on Cooperation with 17 of its trading partners, including Malaysia, prior to starting or concluding an FTA.
In ASEAN, the Philippines is consistently ranked 6th with market shares not exceeding 10% among the import sources of EFTA within the region.
“Consultations with the relevant government agencies and the private sector are necessary if we are to pursue an FTA with EFTA. We need to take stock of our capacities as a country, identify non-tariff barriers, and further build our offensive interests,” said Cristobal.
US ENVOY VISITS AMERICAN TROOPS IN SULU
U.S. Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg visited Sulu last June 2 to assess the American government’s peace and development cooperation programs in the predominantly Muslim-populated province.
During the visit, the US envoy discussed with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines officials on how Washington and Manila can continue to work together to promote peace and security.
He also met with U.S. troops who are in Jolo temporarily to advise and assist the Philippine Armed Forces on counter-insurgency operations.
He also spent some time with a small group of alumni of U.S. government youth exchange programs to hear about their experiences, and discuss how they contribute to their communities through volunteerism.
The United States Government has a number of ongoing programs that benefit the people of Jolo. Since 2004, a total of 40 young people from Jolo have benefited from U.S. Department of State exchange programs such as the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, a one-year high school exchange program and the Philippine Youth Leadership Program, a month-long training focused on conflict resolution and interfaith tolerance.
Peace and Stability
Sulu Island is also a primary focus area for a United States Department of Justice program to help build capacity within the PNP. The program has worked with the PNP to train approximately 1,300 PNP officers (a number of whom originate from Sulu) in areas such as community policing, media relations, basic police operations, and crime scene investigation.
It also helped establish a PNP Training Center in Jolo, so that PNP officers can receive training locally, instead of having to travel to Manila or elsewhere.
In addition, as part of the U.S. Government’s support for peace, stability, and good governance in the Philippines, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been working in Sulu Province, Jolo City and Maimbung Town to build local capacity for better delivery of education and health services, and has an ongoing project to support increased engagement between communities and local governments.
Meanwhile, Denise Rollins, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Assistant Administrator (AA) for Asia, will visit the Philippines June 6-11, the US embassy in Manila announced Friday.
The visit aims to reinforce the U.S. Government’s commitment to the Partnership for Growth – a bilateral agreement with the Government of the Philippines (GPH) to achieve broad-based, inclusive and resilient growth in the country.
Accompanied by USAID/Philippines Mission Director Gloria D. Steele, AA Rollins will visit program sites and engage with local leaders and families that represent the wide scope of USAID’s work, from government officials, to business and community pioneers, to survivors of Typhoon Yolanda.
Ms. Rollins will first visit Cagayan de Oro City (CDO) to see ongoing developments under the U.S. Embassy Manila’s USAID Cities Development Initiative (CDI).
USAID selected CDO, along with the cities of Batangas and Iloilo, as a pilot to ignite secondary cities as engines of economic growth.
CDI, as part of the U.S.-Philippines Partnership for Growth, seeks to promote economic development outside Metro Manila to disperse economic opportunities and enable the country to accelerate and sustain higher, broad-based inclusive growth.
“We are working in partnership with local officials, the private sector and civil society to address concerns in education, health, energy, environment, economic growth and governance,” Director Steele said.
USAID Rebuild in Leyte
Next on the agenda, AA Rollins will visit Tacloban City, Leyte to formally launch USAID Rebuild, the U.S. Government’s rehabilitation and recovery program in Typhoon Yolanda-affected areas, particularly Leyte Province.
USAID Rebuild, which will be implemented in partnership with the Philippine government, focuses on restoring access to education, health services and livelihood activities, as well as providing technical assistance to the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery.
Rollins will also witness a USAID-supported twinning agreement for disaster risk reduction and management activities between the provinces of Albay and Leyte.
USAID aims to assist the province build back better through programs that will enable communities to become more resilient to future disasters.
Overall, U.S. Government support is estimated at approximately US$142.5 million to help the people
of the Philippines respond to, and recover from, the devastating effects of Typhoon Yolanda.
In Manila, AA Rollins will lead events highlighting USAID’s increasing focus on science, technology, innovation, and partnerships.
These activities are expected to help the country leapfrog stages of development and join the next generation of developing nations.
Events will include a workshop to improve the use of mobile technology for development solutions, and the awarding of USAID grants to select local civil society organizations to carry-out innovative projects in targeted development areas.
The Vietnam Violence
By Ramon Orosa
The Vietnam violence does not come as a surprise. While seemingly symbiotic, having worked together for many years in Vietnam’s fight for independence and being somewhat conjoined by having similar ideologies, and finally adopting their ideology to allow greater economic freedoms, I think there is some tendency to under estimate the fierce independence of the Vietnamese and their determination to protect their national interests from China’s escalating attempt at robbery, no matter how China might defensively view it’s actions.
They have not abandoned a centralized autocratic form of governance and when it is not damaging to her interests, Vietnam is likely to be accommodative of China’s “requests” but there is a clear point when Vietnam will no longer accommodate China. The sea grab of China is one of them. The violence is meant to send a loud and clear message to China that her Middle Ages world view needs to be seriously updated and revised. The world is no longer the same and while China has prospered greatly in the last 50 years, it is not sufficient reason to look at the other countries that are her neighbors as vassals that need to pay tribute to China as an overlord.
In modern times, China has decided to restore that tribute paying practice by the attempt to extend her sovereignty over the seas and extend, because she thinks no one can challenge her, to the virtual shores of the neighboring countries. She looks with so much condescension on her neighbors, viewing herself as a superior race to which all others must bow and acquiesce. Witness her response to statements from the US essentially telling the US to keep out- this is our turf and we are free to do whatsoever we wish including rewriting all the boundaries of neighboring nations. First the seas, and then virtual takeovers of the involved nations.
This is why she insists that bilateral discussions are the only way to resolve this whole issue. First, bilateral discussions will weaken any resistance, because China’s economic size and military might are unmatchable by any of the neighboring countries and so the negotiations would be truly one sided. Second, China’s twin objectives are simply to have everyone accept what is in the seas are theirs and if you accept that, you may do whatever you wish there provided we get the lion’s share of the riches in the water and the sea beds at the bottom. That is your tribute to your overlord and you still get some of the riches but you grow at our discretion.
I suppose some of the thinking in terms of timing was based on their assessment that the US is a spent force that would be unwilling to take on China in a confrontation in the area and that the American public, devastated by the economic problems of the last 5 years and the accumulated debts of their Middle Eastern adventures since 9/11, would not be supportive.
But, at best, the world view of China is barbaric and has absolutely no place in the modern world. In some way, some might even be able to say that because it is race discriminative, China is today’s resurrection of nazi, gestapo type national policy. The problem is that China essentially plans long term and in this case, hopes to wear out all of the other affected nations, including the US. It is what I interpret as China’s beginning war versus the world. All of her alliances are strategic, serving her political, commercial and military interests. She has no real allies, just nations under her dominance. And when, in her estimation, the payoff is inestimable, just as the potential riches of the South Seas are, she will attempt to grab whatever can be grabbed.
This sea grab of China is truly unconscionable and in a way, I suggest that cowardice is behind the statements of the US that they are neutral in terms of the disputatious grab being done by China. What could be more unlawful, unreasonable if not unconscionable than what China is doing? This is what China is relying on. That is why she continues to expand her South Seas presence while America does nothing but talk.
Even if US stations forces in Palawan, it will take several years before any decent facility can be constructed. In those years of construction, China will be expanding her presence so that by the time the US is able to establish herself, China would already have built a mighty presence in the area she is grabbing. The problem then is how to get her out without a major confrontation. It seems to me it would probably be too late. I would think it is time not just for port visits by American naval forces, but a temporary placement in the disputed areas of some of those vessels and aircraft that constantly move and shadow the Chinese vessels.
Some might ask, why China is reclaiming land and building an airfield? Because of the distance from China’s coastline to the disputed area so she can station both naval and air forces and not run out of fuel or supplies should there be combat.
What China may not have anticipated was the protest reactions and attacks on Chinese interests in Vietnam. She also did not expect our forces to arrest the fishermen who were clearly trespassing and poaching endangered species of sea life in the area. So the response has been somewhat muted. What China fails to understand is that times have changed, the world has changed and while she has much military might, she will have to do a whole lot of killing to subdue the neighboring nations and make a pariah of herself in the world. Does she mind? I doubt it and that is what is truly unfortunate about this situation.
Explosive Dead Whale
The residents of a town on Canada’s Newfoundland Island fear a blue whale carcass that washed up on its boardwalk last week could explode at any time.
The 25m (81ft) whale on Trout River’s rocky beach is one of several believed to have died in heavy ice weeks ago.
Town Clerk Emily Butler says the body is bloated with methane gas caused by decomposition and will soon reek, regardless of whether it explodes.
Local and federal authorities disagree which are responsible for its disposal.
Ms Butler said the town of 600 people did not have the resources to deal safely with the carcass, though Canadian officials say it is their responsibility.
She told broadcaster NTV that if the town were to push the whale out to sea, it could pose a hazard to passing ships.
The whale appears to have bloated beyond twice its normal size
The town, a tourist destination inside Gros Morne National Park on the Canadian island’s west coast, has seen a new type of visitor since the whale carcass came ashore.
“It’s very difficult to keep people away, simply because it’s not too often that you see a blue whale,” Ms Butler told broadcaster CBC.
Last year a sperm whale carcass that washed up on the Faroe Islands exploded as a biologist attempted to dissect it.
Topless Woman Dances with Bees
Mapelli, 44, has created a lot of Internet buzz by topless dancing with 12,000 bees all at once.
The Portland, Oregon-based beekeeper describes her bee dances as “a duet among many.”
“These 12,000 bees push with their powerful wings from each side of my body, I resist and then I let go and flow and move with them,” she writes on her website.” It is a deep meditation and I feel the hive mind surround me, hold me, and expand my body on a cellular level.”
In order to attract the bees to her topless body, Mapelli anoints her body with a special pheromone oil that is equivalent to the scent of 100 queen bees.
The bees usually stay on her body for about two hours at a time.
When Mapelli is done shaking her tail feather with the bees, an assistant removes the pheromone oil around her neck and then she jumps up and down to shake off the swarm, the Daily Mail reports.
She then removes any stingers sticking to her flesh with a soft brush.
Mapelli believes her bee dances send a message to the bees as well.
“I hope to help the bees of the Northwest by encouraging them to swarm and become hardy to the ever-changing environment,” she said in the description for a bee dance video posted to YouTube in 2012.
PAL Saves Sharks
By Nicole Ann M. Aguila
All people might not know how important sharks are on our planet, thus raising awareness is the key to finally educate the whole world reasons why we must protect them.
Who would have thought that an airline company will put an effort to save marine life? Yes, Philippine Airlines or PAL just announced the ban of shipping of sharks’ fins.
This is after Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Philippine Animal Welfare Society, Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Earth Island Institute – Philippines and other concerned organization started a petition that protests against their freight policy.
“The announcement of PAL is also a victory for all sharks species who are brutally murdered for their fins,” said Anna Oposa, cofounder of Save Philippine Seas and founder of the Shark Shelter Project in Malapascua Island.
The airline was previously reported tohave shipped 136 x 50 kg bags accumulating 6,800 kg of dried shark fins at a Hong Kong storeroom run by Global Marine.
Shark fins are hailed as an important ingredient on soups and traditional cures in China. But animal welfare groups toughly disagree with the trade, which usually comprises of taking only the fins and leaving the main body dead in the ocean.
“Sharks help in maintaining the balance of the marine ecosystem. Their dwindling numbers due to the growing demand for shark’s fin soup and other shark products, already upset the problematic status of our seas and oceans,” said Greenpeace Philippines oceans campaigner Vince Cinches.
“We are asking everyone to remain vigilant and make sure that PAL will honor its commitment and advise other airlines to adopt a similar shark ban to help save our marine ecosystem,” he said.
Shark finning is the practice of slicing off the shark’s fins while the shark is still alive and throwing the rest of its body back into the ocean where it can take days to die what must be an agonizing death.
Globally, tens of millions of sharks are slaughtered every year to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup; at least 8,000 tonnes of shark fins are shipped to restaurants around the world. Fishermen report that sharks are getting smaller because they are not being given time to mature.
Sharks are a critical component in an ecosystem that provides 1/3 of our world with food. The ocean produces more oxygen than all the rainforests combined, removes half of the atmosphere’s manmade carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas), and controls our planet’s temperature and weather.
Sharks play a vital role at the top of the food chain by maintaining balance in the oceans. Destroying shark populations could destroy our oceans and our life support system.
(Ms. Aguila is currently an intern for OpinYon. She is an incoming fourth year student in AB Communication Arts in Malayan College in Cabuyao, Laguna.)
Bridging In Venice
VENICE, ITALY- I had no plans of visiting this city. The only images that I had seen so far of the place, aside from sticky lovers on gondolas, were secret agents and fiends blasting at each other on the city canals and rooftops, blowing up old buildings in the process. Venice seems to be both beautiful and sinister. The creepy “Don’t Look Now” with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie is still etched in my mind. This was also the locale where Daniel Craig in “Casino Royale” led James Bond into an era of being real and human, thereby obliterating the need for arsenal gimmickries.
In addition, I have read about a famous Venetian named Marco Polo, explorer and writer, and from him I could adopt a stronger spirit of adventure. There is also the painter Tintoretto, with his portrayal of disrobed voluptuous women. And Antonio Vivaldi, composer of “Four Seasons” that has been overused for commercials and graduation walks. Then there are the famous Venetian glass and the theatrical masks, some inspired by the Bubonic plague that almost annihilated its populace centuries before. Those are just about what I know about Venice.
Tourist brochures indicate that Venice is a city in northeastern Italy with a total of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges, mostly pedestrian bridges. As movie productions suggest, Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its art. The entire city is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon.
It took the wife and me some 24 grueling hours to reach Venice from Manila, with nine hours flight to Qatar, eight hours lay over at the Doha International Airport, and a seven hour flight to Italy. Thank God for lovely in-flight movies like “The Book Thief”, “The Invisible Woman” and “Iloilo”, flying time became easy to bear.
Getting Lost in Fun
For the first day, we were booked at the Carlton Hotel, an old but charming place but with front desk people having the brusko attitude of New Yorkers before 9/11. The hotel is along the busy Grand Canal and faces the hideous looking train station on the other side. The Olimpia, our second hotel, is more elegant, with beauteous, gracious and helpful front desk employees giving that expected Italian warmth. Our room was much more spacious, and it let some sunshine in.
Venice could be brutal for senior citizens with heavy luggage to move from their bus to the hotels. You have to cross up and down several bridges that are hostile to PWDs and geriatric folks. It becomes obvious why the city government has deployed porters along the routes. For a fee, of course.
On the first night, the wife and I went out of the hotel to look for a trattoria or a snack bar. I am not exactly a fan of Italian food, pasta, pizza, ‘paghetti, or whatever, but this trip is wife’s time so she gets to have first crack at everything. In stead, we got lured by the sights of rushing people, the dark winding streets, the shops, and the edifices, until we got lost in the maze of narrow passageways, archs, alleys, and piers.
I marveled at the textures and more textures, of centuries old layers of brick walls, some proud and some disintegrating with their plasters falling off with them; at the multi-faced buildings that seem to grow organically with tiny-leafed shrubs and vines, at the variety of window grill works; at the character of doors and the worn-out knobs oftentimes positioned at the center of the panels. The whole city it seems – with walls, the gates, and the roofs having distressed look -has been described as one elegant decay.
Glimpses of Day In A Life
My friend Chito Irigo says that the knobs carry the identity of families living within, and are supposed to distinguish them from the others. Even the mailboxes and the knockers could speak volumes. We saw lone men and families with prams going in and out of dimly lit doors and we wondered how life could be in this rich tourist town with a long history of heritage.
I learned that Venice was, one time or another, a major maritime power, the fulcrum of commerce and trade in the world, the fashion capital rivaling Paris, and the center of arts and literature. New York Times has called it “the most beautiful city built by man”. Give me a few days more, and I might agree.
The wife and I stopped by an unmarked small pizza and ice-cream shop where we halved a focaccia stuffed generously with prosciutto ham, mushrooms, and Mozzarella cheese. We finished this off with green tea while standing and so, for an equivalent of 350 pesos, we had our first fine dinner in Venice. We would have wanted some of the tempting gelato, but we were full.
We walked and walked, observing the surroundings, the steeples, the various faces of homes, and the people. I am wont to lug my camera whenever I go but, this time, I purposely left it to be able to take all the images in with my naked eyes. Then it suddenly rained; we had no umbrella. The temperature was probably 16 degrees Celsius, meaning cold, and we got wet. After probably six kilometers and three hours of being lost, without panicking, giggling like children even, we got back to our hotel like drenched cats.
The wife and her dozen or so high school buddies, most of whom have retired from their successful careers, have promised to themselves that, as a gang, they will see parts of the world in the next few years. And whenever they do, they promised that they will bring no husbands, no boyfriends, and no significant others. But this time, I am the designated photographer.
These dragon women have conceived of a calendar spread of golden ladies – them in white beach ensemble at Santorini and in little black dresses in another exotic location. They needed someone with Sports Illustrated or Vogue ambitions to do the camera works. This was an offer I couldn’t refuse. May the Santo Papa help me.
[By Erick A. Fabian]
The Philippines has the best call center agents in the world. We shouldn’t be surprised when they are pirated by companies in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand come ASEAN 2015.
All the foreign firms have to do is offer them better salaries and security of tenure.
There is one thing the government can’t stop — the continuous brain-drain of Filipino professionals which has been happening for several decades.
It started with our scientists. Then the doctors, nurses, teachers, and information technology professionals followed.
For a country relying on manpower as a major source of revenue, we will soon find ourselves empty-handed.
There is no question as to the competence of Filipino business processing operations (BPO) or call center employees. Being a former American colony for 50 years, the Philippines has produced a large pool of fluent English speakers.
Ability to mimic
Even India conceded when its BPO companies moved 70 percent of their operations here recently. Companies worldwide have attested to the Filipino’s natural ability to mimic a neutral, easy-to-understand Western accent.
With most of our industries outflanked by their counterparts in other Asian countries, the BPO industry is one of the most promising saviors of the Philippine economy.
Offshore business processing is expected to double its multi-billion dollar earnings in 2015, due to rising demand in the global economy.
As ASEAN 2015 looms, the emerging economies of Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam will be joining the BPO bandwagon.
International investors keep complaining about the corruption, infrastructure, and the difficulty of setting up a business here, seen as a major bottleneck for would-be BPOs.
We cannot blame Filipino call center employees if they eventually move abroad. There is nothing wrong with prioritizing your family’s needs, and a better offer is always tempting.
Fresh graduates of electronics communications engineering from provincial colleges are already getting offers of double compensation abroad. BPO agents will soon follow suit, because investors will find fertile ground in other Asian countries.
In fact, even military junta-ruled Myanmar is loosening up policies so foreign investors will be attracted to come and stay. The current regime at least had the sensibility to admit that they need a lot of foreign investor money to sustain their country’s economy.
US-based BPOs are here simply because the costs are much lower, and the return on investment more than makes up for the initial capital of setting up a new operation.
But more and more Filipino professionals are slowly trickling into Thailand and Vietnam, buoyed by their innate English language proficiency.
A 2013 ZDNET.com report by finance analyst Ryan Huang confirms that the Thai call center industry is pulling up its sleeves to challenge BPO heavyweights Philippines and India.
Internet speed is the lifeblood of the BPO industry, and yet the Philippines has one of the slowest Internet speeds in Asia. This is what they call the digital divide: the one who gets the information first wins.
The country has supplied the initial amount of exceptional BPO employees, but it is now becoming more obvious that we cannot respond to the skyrocketing demand.
The availability of foreign BPO companies here is a drop in the bucket. There are more than three million eligible but unemployed Filipinos. The call center industry can only employ around 600,000.
There are recent reports of Filipino professionals doing well in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. A quick sweep of online job listings shows random lists of companies in Asian countries recruiting Filipino call center agents with offers of better salaries and working conditions.
One gray area is that law enforcement can’t even ensure the safety of BPO workers in Makati and Ortigas who mostly work at night. Recent accounts of mugging and other crimes against call center workers abound.
Whether the government and the BPO industry can get their acts together is another story.
Reds Condemn China And US Bullying
In a statement released by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP),the insurgent group condemns both the US and Chinese governments for “acting like bullies in their effort to fortify their military foothold in the South China Sea to the detriment of the Filipino people’s sovereignty claims over the islands and land formations and territorial waters within the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.”
The CPP denounced both the Chinese and US governments for carrying out maneuvers and counter-maneuvers last March 29, while a Philippine boat delivered supplies to the Philippine outpost ship BRP Sierra Madre, stationed at the Ayungin Shoal since 1999. News reports indicate that the Chinese Coast Guard attempted to prevent the Philippine supply boat from reaching the Ayungin shoal.The group also criticized the US military for reportedly carrying out fly-bys to project and assert its power and control of the area.
The CPP further denounced the Aquino regime for playing to the US hegemonist plan to establish its permanent presence in the South China Sea by invoking US military support, seeking increased US military financing and protection. The group says that the fly-by of US jets over the Ayungin shoals last March 29 was carried out with the permission of the Philippine armed forces, although AFP officials feigned ignorance. Malacañang also pretended to be unaware of the US fly-bys when it declared that the Philippine supply boat just “somehow managed” to reach the outpost ship despite the presence of the Chinese Coast Guard ship.
The CPP claims that it has long supported the demand of the Filipino people to assert Philippine sovereignty over the small islands and land formations in the South China Sea within the country’s 200-mile economic zone. It also asserted that the group has long called for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts through diplomatic negotiations and international arbitration.
“The US imperialists have long been the biggest violators of Philippine sovereignty,” the group insists in their public statement. They said that the United States’ historical record of aggression and colonization of the Philippines is “incomparable to that of China, which has never deployed its military in the Philippines, prior to sailing its coast guard boats in Philippine territorial waters.”
The CPP notes, “The US has further entrenched itself in the Philippines. It has further strengthened its foothold by maintaining a permanent military presence in the Philippines.”
The CPP contends that further strengthening the US’ military foothold in the Philippines does not help the Philippine cause to advance sovereign claims over the South China Sea islands, formations and territorial waters. Heightening US military presence, according to them, counters the Philippines’ efforts to strengthen its sovereignty claims as it puts the Philippines under the dominance of the US military.
The group further adds, “In asserting Philippine claims while invoking US military support, the Aquino regime is actually seeking to become a protectorate of the US government, subjecting the entire country, including the international trade routes in the South China Sea, to US control. To be ‘protected’ by a bigger bully who claims to be a friend to fend off another bully is to forever be under the sway of that bigger bully.”